Resorts World Casino A Winning Deal?
Photo Dan Miller/DMDIMAGES
Although the Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct may be drawing $475 million in revenue since it opened in South Ozone Park in October 2011, residents feel that the racino hasn’t kept a promise it made prior to opening. Resorts World Casino New York City President Michael Speller publicly announced in June 2011 that 70 to 80 percent of the racino staff would be from Queens. Information received through the Freedom of Information Act shows that a much lower employment level of 60.2 percent exists, far short of what was promised. Councilmember James Sanders Jr. noted, “It’s clear that the state is benefiting. It is less clear if Queens is benefiting.” What this means for Queens is that there are approximately 181 to 365 fewer workers receiving a yearly salary from Resorts World Casino. This could mean that at an approximate salary of $30,000 per worker, a 10 percent decrease in employment would average out to a $5.4 million loss in wages for borough residents. A spokesperson for the company, Stefan Friedman said that “more than 1,100 Queens residents are employed at the site and the company is proud of its work with stockholders”. He went on to say that, “We are constantly exploring ways to continue the growth of our Queens workforce and remain eager to move forward with further development of our site, thus creating thousands of additional jobs for our neighbors.” Sanders cautioned that attention needs to be focused on Queens, so that its residents don’t get lost in the process. State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. stated, “This is a topic that needs to be discussed, no question.”
–Joyce Vetere Milowski